RIO DE JANEIRO — For many athletes, the Olympic path is easy to trace: years of training in obscurity; a life-affirming, nerve-wracking competition on the world’s biggest stage; the medal podium for the fastest, strongest, smartest of the bunch; and then, back home, a visit to a tattoo parlor to memorialize the entire affair for eternity.
The iconic Olympic rings are ever-present across Rio de Janeiro this summer, but not just on the flags and signage that wallpapers the city. For many Americans competing here, they’re on ankles, biceps, hips and shoulders. One 2012 Olympian, weightlifter Holley Mangold, returned home and actually got the rings tattooed on the side of her head.
“It’s one of the things you see all the cooler Olympians having,” said archer Brady Ellison, who got tattoos following both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. “. . . I feel like the Olympic rings is the one tattoo that only we can get.”